Criminal or Commie vs. Demagogue

I’m somewhat astonished that college students are voting for a crazy communist in such ridiculous numbers. I would say completely astonished, but he’s running against someone whose relationship to the rule of law is somewhat… tenuous. If you’re of that partisan persuasion, what a choice you face in your state’s primary or caucus. And regardless of which Democrat presidential candidate winds up on the ballot in November, the Republican opponent might be a man who is “the demagogue that our Founding Fathers feared.

What a choice. A criminal or a commie vs. a demagogue whose grasp of public policy is worse than your average 8th grader’s.

Yet the million people who are likely to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate this year (or perhaps more, if the above candidates are the ones on the ballot) are supposed to be the crazy ones. This is also somewhat astonishing.

(I say somewhat because there’s a game theory scenario that tells us that voters are likely to go for the perceived lesser evil. The solution is to coordinate with a voter who holds the opposite view and for both to agree to vote for the third-party candidate that they both prefer over the other voter’s preferred candidate. But coordination is really hard, and defection is expected, as in the prisoner’s dilemma.)

Even when the major-party nominees were less fundamentally flawed than those who could appear on the 2016 ballot, I never found the argument that you’re throwing your vote away particularly compelling. But this year, I may wind up with contempt, or at best, disappointment for American voters if they don’t abandon the major parties in bigger numbers than normal.

We don’t have to vote R or D just because one of them is likely to win. We don’t have to support crazy or criminal. If you do, consider the possibility that you’re part of the problem.


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